Serve up the ping pong

Serve up the ping pong

When my son was in third grade ping pong was the ‘in’ sport. Back in Germany, they do have concrete ping pong tables near schools and in parks everywhere. When we go back we usually play a match at least once. Now in my attempt to make this the most-interesting-summer-ever our first outing was to find a ping pong table.

We set off to Sunnyvale and checked out the PPC Swan Ping Pong Club. But it turns out they currently hosts summer camps and all tables are taken. I think with a little preparation we could reserve a table.

Ping Pong at Del Monte Park, San JoseAnyway, I knew of a park that does have one of those concrete ping pong tables. The Del Monte Park in San Jose, a tribute to the old cannery that stood nearby, is a brand new park with a playground and a dog park. Wedged in between the kids and the dogs is the ping pong table.

We played a while and had fun until we both stepped on the two balls we brought. That’s a quick way to halt the game. In a nearby store we not only found new ping pong balls but a huge green ball, we then invented our own game. Playing ping pong with a beach ball, Del Monte Park, San Jose

Playground at Del Monte Park, San JoseAs an extra bonus the playground still had some challenges for a teenager. This was a great start into the summer!

Do you know of any opportunities to play ping pong in the Bay Area?

 

Ride in the park

Ride in the park

World’s largest full pipe, Action Sports Park, San JoseThe recently opened Action Sports Park on Lake Cunningham in San Jose has a bike and a skate park. The skate park was built in 2011 and it’s California’s largest with 68,000 square feet. In fact there are two world’s largest pipes, namely: full pipe and cradle. The vert wall is the world’s tallest.

Watch Tony Hawk and other experts in this 3 minute video on their sneak-peek opening experience:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1EgSwmps6Q

Riding zone at the Action Sports Park, San JoseThe brand new bike park surrounds the skatepark with some impressive hills and ramps. They have a small fleet of bikes for rent. Also the very important helmets and pads can be rented. There are no age restrictions, if you are under 6 you need an adult with you. Allowed are all kinds of bikes, even unicycles!

Different skill levels guide you through the seven riding zones. Spectators can hang out and enjoy the free wifi.

 

For $7 per person, you can ride all day (annual membership available), but there is also a $6 parking fee (and an option to buy a annual parking pass). The Action Sports Park allows outside food, but they also have a concession stand and a BBQ area.

 

Have you been to the Actions Sport Park?

 

Chat with an artist

Chat with an artist

3 weekends

360+ artists

28 cities

150+ locations

These are the impressive statistics for the Silicon Valley Open Studios in the first three weekends in May 2018.

Silicon Valley open studios directoryEach weekend is dedicated to an area in Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, some artist’s work can be seen in multiple locations. The best place to start this adventure is by downloading the directory or checking out their website and consulting the map. You might also find the directory at a newspaper vending machine in the area.

Once you are on the road look for sandwich boards with arrows and “open studio”. This makes for a fun treasure hunt before you get to the treasure!

Chatting with the artist is encouraged. After all, the motto for the Open Studios is Connecting artists to the arts enthusiast. So, please ask questions, be enthusiastic, and buy a piece of art.

 

2018 Open Studio Dates – 11am to 5pm

WEEKEND 1: Northern Area – May 5th – 6th

Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, Stanford, South San Francisco, and Woodside

WEEKEND 2: Central Area – May 12th – 13th

East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Stanford, Sunnyvale.

WEEKEND 3: Southern Area/Pacific Coast – May 19th – 20th

Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Saratoga, El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Miramar, Montara, Moss Beach, and Pacifica

 

Have you in previous years explored the Silicon Valley Open Studios?

 

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

A museum of quilts sounds, at first glance, not too exciting. In fact it sounded a bit dusty to me. But I was more than once surprised at the diversity of the items on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Vien Le Wood, printed hair samplesThe current exhibits can be viewed until April 15th, 2018. The first exhibit opens with a short video about hair. (See, unexpected.)

In the video we see women getting patterns screen printed with dye onto their hair. Examples of printed hair are also on display.

Chuck Stolarek takes us on a mind journey, seeing astonishing objects fabricated into a time consuming medium. I particularly liked the ‘shirtains’. Shirtains by Chuck Stolarek

Paul J. Smith, a Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, is showcasing his collection for the first time. Here you see textiles from around the world. The arrangements are interesting, and you learn about cultural aspects of patterns and textiles.

Without a Net by Susan Else at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and TextilesMy favorite exhibit was Susan Else’s “Without A Net”. A colorful installation about the circus using textiles, sound and motion. The circus theme is used as a vehicle to twist your mind. An elephant on a unicycle on a rope starts off the show. A view behind the scene after dark has a tiger throwing darts at someone. The horses riding on the people in the merry-go-round are a perfect ending of the upside down.

The open studio for the two artists in residence, Michelle Wilson and Anne Beck, ‘The Rhinoceros project’ has ended March 24th and as an unfortunate coincidence, Sudan, one of the last three white rhinos has died on March 20th, 2018. I enjoyed helping stitch the art for the Rhinoceros Project and meeting Michelle.

If this all tickled your creative mind and you are up for an hands-on approach, you might find some inspiration in the gift shop.

The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday (W-F 11am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm). General admission is $8, seniors and students $6.50 and children under 12 are free.

Have you been to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?

 

Related Article:

BBC: Northern White Rhino: Last male Sudan dies in Kenia

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43468066

Stand up with art

Stand up with art

Before taking a knee for the national anthem, raising a fist was showing protest. At the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968, two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, protested by showing a black gloved fist on the podest while receiving their first and third place medals.

The feet of John Carlos with black socks The two U.S. athletes staged a protest not only by their black gloves, but were shoeless, wearing only black socks, to represent black poverty. Smith’s black scarf is a symbol of black pride and Carlos unzipping his jacket stands for the solidarity with black workers.

In 2005, the SJSU honored the former students Smith and Carlos, with a statue depicting their protest. Victory Salute by artist Rigo 23 leaves the second place empty because the Australian Peter Norman wanted people to be able to stand in his place. There is a plaque on the second place reading ‘Fellow athlete Australian Peter Norman stood here in solidarity. Take a Stand’.

Benny O'Hara designed this poster protesting TrumpTo continue the art of protest the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Library, not a five minute walk away, has an exhibit of the same name. Here you can look at protest posters from the 1970’s, opposition the Vietnam War, racism or pollution. The collection belongs to the San Jose Peace and Justice Center and is on display on the 4th floor of the library until March 30th, 2018.

There are example of different styles of poster art and the evolution it went through in this time period.

Are you a supporter of protest art?

 

Resources:

BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/17/newsid_3535000/3535348.stm)

Wikipedia

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Olympics_Black_Power_salute)

 

Celebrate Christmas in the Park

Celebrate Christmas in the Park

One thing I miss during Christmas season, besides my family, are the Weihnachtsmarkets in Germany. Always a true sign that Christmas is coming, a great place to buy local gifts and drink some Gluehwein.

Every blood donation "counts" treeA surprising ‘christmassy’ event is Christmas in the Park in San Jose. This year they broke the world record for most decorated Christmas trees!  600 decorated trees can be seen on Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Some trees are decorated in memory of lost ones, there is a Grinch, and a Dracula advertising the mobile blood drive December 22nd from 12 pm to 5 pm, at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

 

 

LED ornament

My favorite trees were the Mentor Trees, showcasing the mentorship program between some colleges and elementary, middle and high schools in the area with some LED ornaments that glowed in different colors and patterns and the Washington Elementary Glasses Club Tree, which has some inspiring reasons why to wear glasses!

Washington Elementary Glasses Club Tree

 

The 40 animated displays is probably the reason why there were so many babies and young children during the day.

Caribbean Christmas animationThe one that made me smile the most was the Caribbean Christmas, a bunch of frogs playing a Christmas song in Caribbean tunes.

 

There is also a community stage and you can go see Santa.

This tradition is open through January 7th, 2018 and free with donations.

How are you decorating your tree?

See the light throughout the tunnel

See the light throughout the tunnel

This time of the year, when it gets dark early, it is a joy to see all the light installations, private and public.

Sonic runway, San JoseSan Jose partnered with Burning Man in an initiative called ‘Playa to Paseo’ to bring more engaging art downtown. The first of these, the Sonic Runway, is in front of the City Hall on Santa Clara Street from Fourth to Sixth. Everyday from 5pm to 12am thru mid January 2018 the Sonic Runway “is a corridor of lights that visualizes the speed of sound”, according to the official website. I recommend going both ways through the tunnel; one way the sound is coming at you the other way you are in sync with lights and sound.

 

When I visited, the early visitors were enjoying a stroll thru the tunnel, in both directions. I saw families with kids, but also couples on their way to a night out in town.

A short while later the skaters used a newspaper box as a ramp to perform some jumps and slides inside the tunnel.Skater in the Sonic Runway, San Jose

I had the feeling the only ones not so thrilled about it are the city hall employees trying to go home at 5pm.

 

The other light installations in the ‘Illuminating Downtown’ program are:

(http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/03/22/map-interactive-light-displays-downtown-san-jose/)

  • ‘Show Your Stripes’ – Second and San Fernando

You can use a phone code to change the patterns and colors of lights on the building

  • ‘Sensing You’ and ‘Sensing Water’ – Highway 87 underpasses at Santa Clara and San Fernando

Lights responding to movements of passers-by

Crack the code, an interactive game

  • ‘San Carlos Lantern Relay’ – South side of San Carlos, between Fourth and Market

Eight boxes on poles flash an interactive light show

  • ‘Voxel Cloud’ – Pierce Ave at Market St.

3-D light sculpture on top of the apartment building

 

Have you setup your own Holiday light installation? If you have post a photo on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/untilsuburbia/.

Unearth Confucius

Unearth Confucius

On a recent trip to San Jose I decided to check out the Overfelt Gardens. Within this local park is the Chinese Cultural Garden, a piece of land gifted by Frank and Pauline Lowe in 1971, to bring Chinese culture closer to the American people.

 

Confucius in the Overfelt Gardens, San JoseIt is a very peaceful place with a couple of ponds and the geese population greatly exceeds the human park dwellers. I followed the path to the Chinese Cultural Gardens and was greeted by Confucius himself! I am sure he was meant to be surrounded by water, but the absence of it did not take away from his greatness.

 

Roof of Memorial Hall at the Chinese Cultural Garden, San JoseA few more Chinese structures are in the park, but overall it is just a great place to unwind, walk around in some greenery and surround yourself with peacefulness.

 

Other features of the park are the Amphitheatre, a palm garden and the California garden.

 

What are your favorite places to unwind?

Feed the chickens

Feed the chickens

Soon we will celebrate Thanksgiving and I thought it is appropriate to talk about a local farm.

Emma Prusch donated a substantial piece of land to the city of San Jose to be kept as farmland as the way the Valley of Hearts Delight used to be.

 

Rooster at Emma Prusch Farm, San JoseWhen I first entered the farm it was amazing to me that they have chickens roam around freely in the whole area. In the back there is an animal area where they sell chicken feed for 25 cents. So, make sure you have some quarters if you are entertaining young children. The animal area also has a pot belly pig, bunnies, goats and other fowl. Chicken at Emma Prusch Farm, San Jose

 

On Saturday and Sunday the farm offers pony rides ($10 for 10 minutes). Overall this is a great place for little children, with a playground, the animal area, and lots of space to run around.

 

Emma's kitchen garden at Emma Prusch Farm, San JoseThe true farm experience is offered every first Saturday. The associated Veggielution is a community farm with the mission of connecting people through food and farming. Here you can help farming, cook or just stop by and buy the produce from the farmstand.

 

Everyone is welcome every Saturday and Wednesday morning to garden at Emma’s Kitchen Garden.

 

Have you helped on a farm before?

Happy Thanksgiving!

More than just facades

More than just facades

I am constantly surprised about the artwork you find along the bay. There is the wind walk in San Mateo, Bixbee Park with it’s posts in Palo Alto. But have you ever been to Alviso? Alviso, now part of San Jose, can be found at the southernmost point of the San Francisco Bay.

 

Alviso Marina County Park in San JoseThe Alviso Marina County Park stands out with it’s facade like structures framing the boardwalks that let you oversee the slough. Here you can take a breath of salty air, or look for some rare birds. Some boardwalks have benches, and it feels very peaceful. 

 

This park is also a gateway to the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail and San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.